Consumer Lending · November 15, 2022

Paul Hansmeier

Paul Hansmeier

Paul (better known as Paulie to family and close friends) Hansmeier said he keeps “very busy” as a Central Consumer Loan Officer for Marine Credit Union (MCU). In a nutshell, he explained, “I sell money. I look at profiles and see if it will be a benefit for the member and for MCU. It’s about telling our members’ story and treating our members as more than just a credit score.”

Why is it important to know members’ stories? When it comes to something such as debt consolidation, Paul said that some members have gotten “raked” before and their story helps him to determine what they can afford now. “We work with figuring out their budget and we have to write the story for underwriters. Whether it’s a roof or a transmission,” he added, it’s all a part of the story.

He explained that some members come in paying only pennies on the principal of existing loans. “Payday and title loans,” he explained can be 84 to even 120 percent interest. “They are predatory,” he added. “The most I’ve seen was 148 percent with a cash advance establishment. They are known for that.”

“Most people,” Paul continued, “have good intentions” to pay these high interest rate loans off right away. But, he said, “life happens. Life happens and you can’t pay it off in two months.” Paul speaks from personal experience … many years ago purchasing tires for his vehicle with a credit card having the intention of paying it off right away. “It caught up with me,” he shared. “The divorce didn’t help. There were calls every day. It was an anxiety filled time. It’s frustrating when you can’t dig yourself out.”

Coming from having that experience, Paul said he now is passionate about trying to help members “get on an even playing field rather than being in quicksand.”

Paul explained that some profiles take longer than others depending on their history and what they need. “Certain profiles need more than others,” he explained. “There are different caveats to each profile. There are a lot of different experiences,” he added.

He learned a lot about those different experiences from his career, including serving as a finance and insurance manager and sales manager for Harley Davidson and through his personal life.

Paul grew up in Waukon, Iowa with his mother, his grandparents and a lot of family that lives in the Waukon area. “We are tight knit,” he shared. Paul’s grandparents owned several businesses including a semi-truck and trailer repair business and a dirt racetrack. “I grew up pushing a broom there and playing sports in high school,” he shared. Later Paul attended Central University of Iowa in Pella. His first intention was to study to become a history teacher, then later changed to exercise science. But his professional life took the path of sales … even from an early age working for Boy Scouts and school fundraisers.

Being very active in school and volunteering, Paul explained was how he socialized being an only child. “That was my networking … how I made friends. It’s a great way to network.” He said at 13 years old he might not have realized it but that was how he socialized.

After graduating, Paul returned to what was his seasonal job for a company that did screen printing on plastic – working in sales. He continued his sales journey at Harley Davidson for three years and later for a company that branded merchandise for big names such as Target and Mr. Bean. Eventually Paul came to MCU in November of 2021.

He said he used MCU when working at Harley Davidson. He learned of MCU on and MCU’s mission to be “super strong.” He told himself that if MCU’s mission was “even remotely close to what they said, then that’s where I want to be.”

“My entire life I have always been a helper. I have always wanted to help people,” Paul shared. And he said that even those members who he isn’t able to help “right now” it’s hard for him to turn them down … “when the numbers just don’t work.”

But it’s in those situations he said he tries to turn it into an “educational decline. I try to instill habits for a better financial future and help them make steps in the right direction.”

“I have been in a lot of positions they have been in too,” Paul added saying that it helps him to be empathetic to their situations.

Paul shared that he gets his empathetic nature from his grandparents. “The way I was raised, a handshake meant a lot,” he shared. “I learned humility and respect from my grandmother and mother and my work ethic and honesty for his grandfather and my uncles.”

Paul said he sees a future for him at MCU. “I’m surrounded by like-minded people with common purposes,” Paul shared. “It’s not a negative environment. It goes back to the way I was raised.”